Thanksgiving Weekend & Our Top 4 Holiday Eating Strategies

posted in: Health and Nutrition | 10

Happy US Thanksgiving to all our American patients, long-distance participants and readers! One of the perks of being married to an American is that I get to have two Thanksgivings!  Here in Canada we celebrate Thanksgiving every year on the second Monday of October.   I get two turkey blowouts every year now!

 

For those of you who have been following my Six Month Ketogenic Challenge know that I am trying to stay in ketosis from August 1st until February 1st (and hopefully even longer) without breaking and binging on carbohydrates and other refined sugars.  So far, so good.  We have been incredibly busy but have stuck to it.  This weekend kicks off the start of the holiday party season, and I know I must stick to my diet or it can easily go down the drain.

 

This year my husband, Angel, and I will be spending this US Thanksgiving at our other home in the San Francisco Bay Area.  I am currently reviewing this post from an Air Canada airplane on my way over there from Toronto.  We will be experimenting transforming some of our favourite Thanksgiving Day dishes into keto-friendly recipes and will be sharing with our followers on social media.  Feel free to follow us on Facebook Live and Instagram Live tomorrow.

 

What do we plan on making?

 

  • Almond flour. psyllium husk and rosemary bread
  • Broccoli soup
  • Turkey
  • Crispy turkey skin chips
  • Almond flour stuffing
  • Bacon wrapped brussel sprouts
  • Green beans and mustard
  • Cauliflower mashed ‘potatoes’
  • Baked apple stuffed with cinnamon butter and topped with whipping cream
  • Keto hot cocoa

 

Our Top 4 Holiday Eating Strategies

Whether you are celebrating Thanksgiving this weekend or not, holiday parties are already starting to kick off.  Today’s blog post is going to focus on holiday party strategies for making healthier selections so we don’t have too much catching up to do in the new year.

 

  1. Never go to a holiday party hungry! You are never going to be able to control those carbohydrate cravings if you show up to your party and are starving.  You will have a lot more success at avoiding the bread and those pastries if you are somewhat satiated before you arrive.  Try to have a nice, fatty meal an hour or two before you head to your celebration.  I often have my own little charcuterie board with meats, olives and cheeses, or I’ll eat an avocado or have some eggs.

 

  1. Always volunteer to bring a few of your favourite low carb dishes or appetizers. My friends and family always know they can count of me to bring meat, cheese and vegetable platters with homemade dip and guacamole, and deviled eggs.  This way I always have some ‘safety’ foods I can consume in excess without experiencing any guilt.

 

  1. Eat a fatty breakfast or brunch if you are going to be the one who is cooking all day. I know we often discourage patients from eating breakfast in the IDM Program, but when you eat matters just as much as what you eat.  It is better to take a nice, fatty breakfast or brunch to satiate yourself rather than grazing on what you are cooking on ALL day long.  My game plan for this morning is to wake-up and eat some of my favourite Trader Joe’s bacon (my husband bought eight packages for the two of us for this weekend – this is why I married him), have a nice omelette stuffed with veggies, and half of an avocado.  That way I am satiated and won’t be eating all day long and refueling before the fuel from my last meal has been used up.

 

  1. Always save your carbohydrates for last! I understand that not everyone is following a strict ketogenic diet like myself and want to indulge in some holiday favourites.  This year is my first-year celebrating the holidays and being fully committed to a ketogenic diet.  Do your best to save your carbohydrates for last.   Try to fill up on salad and soup first.  Move on to any non-root vegetables next followed by any protein.  Make sure to cover the vegetables and protein in fat, especially if they were not cooked in fat.  Save the carbohydrates for last.  This way you will be partially satiated before getting to the carbs so you prevent yourself from over indulging.  By eating the fat and protein first, you are decreasing your hunger hormones and increasing your satiation hormones.  If you eat the carbs first, you spike your insulin and your hunger hormones, therefore, you are much more likely to overindulge.  Also, you will force yourself to digest the carbohydrates a bit slower by filling up on all of the fat and vegetable fibre first.

 

  1. Try drinking a tall glass of water an hour before you expect to eat and then again within 5 to 10 minutes of eating. We often mistake thirst for hunger.  Adding vinegar will help control your cravings and your blood sugar levels as well. Tip: cover as much of your food with any kind of vinegar as possible, especially the carbohydrates!

10 Responses

  1. I am thankful that we have brave medical doctors like Jason Fung who have the courage to stand-up to the lame stream con med cowards and tell it like it is. I am thankful that I had the intuitive insight to somehow know (I don’t even know how I know) that I should follow a ketogenic diet and do intermittent fasting; the fact that I intuitively know this I take as a gift from God.

  2. And SMILE when you politely decline what you can’t have! Don’t make it about the food, or (even worse) about the other person. Just say something like, “That looks lovely but I’m afraid I can’t have it.” They’d understand an addict declining the drug or alcohol. Being pleasant about it makes a world of difference.

  3. Hey Megan

    Some good points there, useful for every festivity throughout the year.

    I understand that you are on a 6 month ketogenic journey, kudos to you, but I do think it’s also important to note that carbohydrates are not the devil incarnate. Sure, very low carb ketogenic is required by some people, but not usually for the long term of forever.

    Using low carb, fasting and exercise to improve insulin sensitivity should allow most people to handle some level of carb consumption over time. And for those that train intensively, carbs are almost an essential part of the diet (obviously not for those indulging in low intensity aerobic styles of training).

    I think that carb sources are really important to differentiate between too. Purely on the binge eating level, I’ve found that sweet potato and white rice have no effect, if I start eating more processed and sugary carb sources, overeating is often the outcome.

    The human body is built to cope with occasional high insulin spikes, and on a regular basis. It’s years of abusing carbs that causes the big problems relating to insulin resistance for people later in their lives. And they often struggle to recover.

    Good post, and good luck with it. Happy Thanksgiving from England

    Steve

    • Megan, thanks for this post! Very helpful!

      I am currently on a very low carb, high fat diet combined with daily fasting – usually 16:8, but more often more like 18:6 or 20:4. I always focus on green leafy things as my main vegetables; occasionally a small amount of baked squash. I’m peri-menopausal, and not only is this the only way that I can loose weight, but I feel really good when I eat this way, and I sleep well and without night sweats.

      Women like me are not “most people” (although, there are a lot of us!) and even whole foods like sweet potato and rice are way, way too high in carbs. Besides, there are other much lower carb options that offer just as good or superior nutrition.

      Everyone has to find their own carb tolerance level. Mine is under 25 net grams (i.e., not including fibre), provided I incorporate daily fasting (which, as it turns out, is not hard at all, especially if there’s a cup of bone broth to be had later in the day.)

  4. Add the vinegar to your water instead of/as well as using it on your food. Balsamic vinegar or cider vinegar or homemade infused vinegars are quite nice in water.

    • Hi Karen, what amount of vinegar would you add to an 8 oz. glass of water? I’ve been led to believe that it can be detrimental to one’s health (like anything, if taken to excess), but I have no idea what th recommended ratio of vinegar to water should be. Thanx.

  5. I’d love to see the recipes for each of the items prepared!

  6. Me too!

  7. This may not be the exact right post to ask this question but here goes.
    If, after following the protocol of intermittent fasting and low carbs, I reduce my insulin and glucose levels to before I was diabetic – what is suggested as a maintaining protocol. Do I just keep doing the same?

  8. Yvon LEBRASSEUR

    Hello,

    Today I tried a 24 hour fast to first see if i could do it and see how i would feel . Well I am happy to report it went very well. I only starred feeling pangs of hunger after 23 hours but i kept going to 24 hrs. It was a lot easier than i thought it would be . All i had all day was water and 2 coffees with some cream. I had previously done 15 hours a few time before trying 24 hours. Since it went so well I am going to do this every other day and see what happens . On the non fasting days i wiil be doing a low carb keto diet as this i nwhat seems to be the easiest for me and it doesn’ create any cravings and should keep my insulin from spiking.

    Good luck to all
    Thank Dr fung !

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